Peaky Blinders: A Case for May Carleton

It seems that Grace Burgess is the favorite choice for Thomas Shelby. I want to offer a different opinion. I want to offer a case for May Carleton.


(note: spoilers below)

Let’s talk about Tommy for a moment. Thomas Shelby is a business man. His aim has been to forward the business and the family in the world whatever the cost. Over the past two seasons he has played a large scale chess game with Major Campbell fighting for advantage and control. Tommy’s brain is constantly plotting the moves on the board; he is constantly thinking. “I think”, Tommy declared to Arthur, “so you don’t have to”. From episode one when Tommy had a magic spell put on a racehorse to his intricate plan at the Epsom races, Tommy has been placing actions on a course to forward the Shelby family.

Let us look at some of the movements in place at the end of season two:

There is talk of making a profit from Prohibition in the US and Canada by the Peaky Blinders selling liquor abroad. This will expand the current partnership with Alfie and the Breadmakers and provide a new avenue of profit for the Peaky Blinders.

Tommy successfully readjusts the control at the Epsom races, giving him the control over the bookies and fixing races. He has himself a racehorse and a horse trainer, May Carleton, with influential connections. This opportunity allows him to expand his betting company as well as the Peaky Blinders’ territory to the Epsom track. This raises his profit and influence within the world of betting on the races.

Sabini, Alfie and Tommy had a power triangle throughout season two that ended with Alfie and Tommy aligned in interest with Sabini on the outs.


Tommy has two women who want him: May Carleton and Grace Burgess. Each of these women hold a high card. May has influence with the racing board and can ensure that Tommy’s bookies get their legal pitches to work the Epsom races. Grace, who came into town with her American husband to get pregnant, has declared her love for Tommy and says she carries his child. In the closing scene of season two Tommy declares, “I’m going to get married”.

Who will Thomas Shelby choose?

Grace has seen Tommy at his true self and has held his heart. In season one they save each other’s lives through murder and still accept each other after the fact. That level of connection does not wither so quickly. With Grace pregnant and still married but in love with Thomas, it provides him with an opportunity to follow his heart. Yet he will not so easily forget the last time he let down his guard for Grace; it nearly ruined his entire plan for the family. Her betrayal has raised a strong barrier.


May knows Tommy in a realistic way, she knows his heart is shielded and doesn’t seem to expect him to open up to her. In a way, she is just as shielded and unwilling to show all of the cards in her hand. She is also in love with Tommy and very keen to keep him; she made that quite clear to both Thomas and Grace. May is his intellectual equal. She is a business woman who is trapped by her circumstances living in a mansion alone in the proverbial wilderness. She is calculating and has plans of her own; she is no feeble flower needing rescue, rather she pursues that which she wants. May is Shelby material.

“There’s business and there’s love” Grace states with chin held high.
“Is there?” May wonders wisely, “with Thomas Shelby?”

Thomas Shelby is a calculating man, who despite his feelings, has proven to put business before heart. He is a smart man, but a jaded one. With all of the elements in place, the smart choice is to marry May to ensure his influence with the board at the Epsom races. She provides an avenue for money, influence and more horses to fix races. May is his intellectual equal, cares for him but also respects his self imposed isolation. She may not be the favorite choice, but I predict she will be the one to marry Tommy in season three.


Do you disagree or agree? Tell me why! Add me on twitter: @kristhemiss